Pivotal partnership seeks to transform Cystic Fibrosis research

LifeArc, a national medical research charity, is joining the Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Syndicate in a strategic partnership alongside Cystic Fibrosis Trust and Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC).

The CF AMR Syndicate aims to address unmet patient needs by linking people with CF with leading experts across industry, academia and the NHS. Together, this cross-sector consortium is identifying and tackling drug discovery hurdles to accelerate the development of CF antimicrobials and infection diagnostics and the speed at which they can reach the people who need them.

For the estimated 10,800 people in the UK living with CF, the lungs are one of the most commonly affected organs, where people with the condition experience a build-up of thick sticky mucus, which is difficult to clear. The development of frequent and persistent infections that are difficult to treat leads to a progressive decline in lung function. Treatment failure due to the development of resistance is frequently seen in people with CF, and the consequences of this can be devastating.

With microbes becoming increasingly resistant to the current medicines and no new antibiotics being brought to market in over 25 years, AMR is a critically important and worldwide health concern. It remains one of the biggest issues faced by the CF community and is an area that faces significant drug discovery and development challenges. 

This critical unmet patient need is something that the drug discovery and diagnostics expertise of both Medicines Discovery Catapult (MDC) and LifeArc – combined with expert insight from Cystic Fibrosis Trust – will seek to address, delivering a collaborative approach which could prove pivotal in unlocking future treatments and breakthroughs.

Dr. Beverley Isherwood, Partnership Lead for Infectious Disease at MDC, commented on the CF AMR Syndicate: “It is brilliant that LifeArc is joining forces with MDC and Cystic Fibrosis Trust to help deliver on the CF AMR Syndicate’s objectives, strengthening our combined reach and impact.

LifeArc, Cystic Fibrosis Trust and MDC have an aligned vision of lifting the limits of medicines R&D, accelerating the development of CF antimicrobials and diagnostics, and speeding up new treatments for people with CF. By bringing the CF research community together with people with the condition, we have identified barriers to the discovery of medicines and built a programme to overcome them. 

“Three years on, with the combined experience of our partners and the wider CF AMR Network, we are ready to take the Syndicate to the next level. By nurturing research, academic translation and industrial commercialisation in this area, we are collaboratively fuelling the acceleration of much-needed new treatments and diagnostics to tackle AMR in CF.”   

Dr. Catherine Kettleborough, Chronic Respiratory Infection Lead at LifeArc, said: “We're delighted to join the CF AMR Syndicate as a managing partner. LifeArc helps accelerate scientific discoveries into new clinical solutions for patients. Working with CF Trust and MDC, we’ll provide in-house science capabilities, translation expertise and funding to fast-track the development of antimicrobials and diagnostics to bring new and effective treatments to people living with CF faster.”

Dr. Paula Sommer, Head of Research at Cystic Fibrosis Trust, said: “While antimicrobial resistance is a concern for us all, people living with CF are particularly vulnerable to it. This is because antimicrobial drugs are an important part of day-to-day treatment for people with CF, as well as the specific challenges of treating CF-related lung infections.

“Our partnership with MDC has enabled the Syndicate to drive forward initiatives aimed at helping innovators navigate the complex drug development pathways in CF antimicrobial development. We are thrilled to have been joined by LifeArc, and we can now focus our next phase on further expanding the Syndicate for the benefit of people with CF.”

Abigail Halstead, a patient representative on the CF AMR Syndicate’s Steering Committee, said: “As someone with CF that is living with a chronic infection, being an active member of the CF AMR Syndicate’s Steering Committee has enabled me to share my experiences and use them to help shape the Syndicate’s strategy. It’s encouraging to know that drug and diagnostic projects developed by the Syndicate have been informed by people with CF, ensuring our needs and priorities are at their heart. I’m excited to see the progress we make with LifeArc coming on board, with their unique capabilities and mission to transform promising ideas into life-changing medical breakthroughs.”

For more information or to join the CF Syndicate Network, please visit https://cfamr.org.uk/join-network/.


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